Daniel Fleetwood had his final wish come true, and now is the first person in the world to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
The 32-year-old Houston man is suffering from a rare form of cancer, and in July doctors gave him two months to live. Fleetwood was also a big Star Wars fan, and was afraid that he would die before the December 18 premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the newest addition to the series.
So his wife, Ashley, started a campaign to persuade Disney and Lucasfilms to allow her husband to see the movie early. She started the hashtag #ForceForDaniel, which quickly went viral and even got the support of some of those involved with the movie.
Actress Daisy Ridley sent out a message in support of Daniel on Instagram, one that got thousands of shares.
This one’s for you Daniel Fleetwood!!! We will all do what we can to make your wish come true #forcefordaniel
Even Luke Skywalker was excited at the news that Daniel Fleetwood got to see the new Star Wars movie.
I just read this and am elated for Daniel & his family! Thanks to the powers-that-be for making his dream come true. https://t.co/ImiAdyBxf8
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) November 5, 2015
The news was shared on Thursday by Ashley, Daniel’s wife, who said that Disney and Lucasfilms came together to make his final wish come true.
“Daniel just finished watching an unedited version of Star Wars: The Force Awakens!!! We would like to thank the awesomely talented JJ Abrams for calling us yesterday to tell us Danjel was getting his wish granted! We also would like to thank Lynne, Ben and Anahuac for coming to our home and screening the movie for Daniel. Lastly I want to thank ALL the amazing people who helped make this happen, thank you beyond words!!! May the force be with you all#forcefordaniel!!!!”
The private screening was seen as something of a coup, as production companies can be very strict with advance screenings. The movie itself is one of the most anticipated in years, with many theaters already selling out initial screenings more than two months in advance.
It was a huge victory for Daniel Fleetwood and his supporters, and came just a day after he suffered a frightening health setback. As Ashley posted on Wednesday, Daniel had a malfunction in the oxygen tank that he relies on to keep air in his lungs. The issue was resolved, but Ashley shared that the ordeal left them both exhausted.
Daniel’s story captivated the thousands of followers he gained in recent weeks. Though Daniel was fighting on after his terminal diagnosis, he began to realize that he would likely not make it to the film’s December premiere. So his wife took over, starting an online petition to the film’s production company asking if he could watch it early.
Daniel Fleetwood said he has been a fan of the Star Wars movies since he was 8 or 9 years old, and wanted to see the latest installation as his final wish.
“Judging by how progressive the disease has gotten in the past two months I really don’t think that I’ll be able to make it,” Fleetwood told Houston’s KPRC-TV, via CNN.
Though Daniel Fleetwood is now the only person in America to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens, he still has a fight ahead of him. As he’s crossed more than two months beyond his original diagnosis, the medical bills have started to pile up and his wife has started a GoFundMe page to help defray some of the costs. To date it has raised close to $35,000 of the $100,000 goal.
[Image via Facebook/Ashley Fleetwood]